by R Jagannathan Apr 5, 2014
As elections go, 2014 is unique. For example, this is the first national election in which candidates will be able to press the Nota button - none of the above. But soon, it seems, the Election Commission will have to add yet another button - the DVFM button. Don't Vote For me.
This incident in Western Uttar Pradesh takes the cake: probably for the first time in recent memory, we actually have a candidate who is on the ballot asking voters not to vote for him.
The beneficiary is the BJP in Gautam Budh Nagar in Noida, and the candidate is Ramesh Tomar, former Congress candidate-turned-BJP supporter. Ramesh Tomar with Narendra Modi. IBN Live.
Ramesh Tomar with Narendra Modi. IBN Live.
If there is one place where the Congress can scream “conspiracy” it is here.
Tomar was the nominated Congress candidate for the Gautam Budh Nagar seat and was allotted the Congress symbol by the party. But he quit after the last day for withdrawal of candidature ended and hugged Narendra Modi at a public rally.
He is now in the interesting situation where he is the official candidate of the Congress party, but will actually be officially rooting for the BJP and Modi.
The Congress is in the embarrassing situation where it has a candidate but no candidate. Tomar is in the delicious irony where he is the candidate but if people actually vote for him his new love – the BJP – will be affected.
The interesting thing is this seat was coveted by the Rashtriya Lok Dal as the right place for Amar Singh - a former Samajwadi Party bigwig - to contest. But the Congress was adamant about giving Tomar the ticket. It is now left red-faced, as it cannot now nominate another candidate. A Times of India story quotes UP Congress Committee Vice-President Satyadev Tripathi as acknowledging that the party was left without a nominee this time, and accused the BJP of being willing “to go to any extent.”
The BJP, of course, has an official candidate, and his official Congress rival will be rooting for him.
So what does Tomar do now? He is now telling his voters: “Don’t vote for me.”
How much more ridiculous, or amusing, can the situation get? Only in India…